Mukilteo bans e-cigarettes within 500 feet of schools

MUKILTEO — Students, staff and visitors aren’t allowed to use electronic cigarettes within 500 feet of schools in the Mukilteo School District.

The ban is part of a recent revision of school policies bringing it in line with a 2016 state law regulating vaping and vapor products, said school district spokesman Andy Muntz.

The district reviews its policies for needed updates every three years, he said.

Previously, state law required schools to post signs prohibiting the use of tobacco products on school grounds.

One of the concerns is that electronic cigarettes can be used to smoke products other than the nicotine liquids sold in stores, such as illegal drugs.

“All you see is water vapor,” Muntz said. “Whatever drug is in there is being consumed but you can’t smell it. It could be pretty much anything and you won’t know the difference.”

The new policy prohibits vaping on school grounds, in its building and in district-owned vehicles, Muntz said.

Students can face disciplinary actions for violating the new policy. Adults will be told not to vape on or around school district property, he said.

The requirement to ban vaping within 500 feet of school property was included in a bill primarily aimed at regulating the sale of vaping products. Among other provisions, it requires warning labels on the harmful effects of nicotine and keeping vaping products away from children.

Mukilteo appears to be among the first local school districts to update its policy.

For now, the Everett School District bans vaping and use to tobacco products on all school district property and in its vehicles.

The Edmonds School District policy, updated last year, bans tobacco, e-cigarettes, vaping, drugs and weapons. The regulations are posted at all its schools.

The Snohomish Health District approved a ban on vaping in public places, such as parks, restaurants and businesses, in November 2015.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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